After the events of the Quest of the Avatar in Ultima IV, Lord British decided to seal the seven remaining dungeons, in order to prevent the monsters dwelling within from attacking the population. Under his orders, the Great Council created seven Words of Power, which, when used on a dungeon, could seal or open its entrance. Each dungeon had its corresponding Word of Power, and each of the seven members of the Council knew only one Word of Power. The Great Council then sealed the dungeons, not knowing that they were connected on their lowest levels to the newly created Underworld.
The Words of Power had also a secondary use. If any of the eight Shrines of Virtue would somehow became corrupted, yelling the Word of Power of its opposing dungeon would restore the Shrine to normality.
During Ultima V, the Avatar had to find a way to access the Underworld, in order to defeat the Shadowlords and rescue Lord British. To do this, the Avatar needed to unseal the dungeons, and so he had to track down the seven members of the Council in order to get each of the Words of Power of power from them. This wasn't easily done, as they had fled from Lord Blackthorn and were well hidden. Convincing the Council members to reveal the Words of Power was not an easy task either. But after recovering them, the Avatar used the Words of Power to unseal each of the dungeons and eventually rescue Lord British.
During their travels, the Avatar also learned about the possibility to restore a Shrine from Glinkie.
The following table summarizes the words of power, the dungeon it seals, its keeper, and the Shrine it restores. Note that dungeon Doom is a special case, as it is not known to the Council and its word has to be gained by a long quest. It is not known why this dungeon in the Underworld is sealed or who sealed it, though the Shadowlords may be implicated as Lord British was imprisoned inside.
|Word of Power||Dungeon||Council Member||Shrine|
|Fallax||Deceit||Malifora||Shrine of Honesty|
|Vilis||Despise||Annon||Shrine of Compassion|
|Inopia||Destard||Goeth||Shrine of Valor|
|Malum||Wrong||Felespar||Shrine of Justice|
|Avidus||Covetous||Fiona||Shrine of Sacrifice|
|Infama||Shame||Sindar||Shrine of Honor|
|Ignavus||Hythloth||Hassad||Shrine of Spirituality|
* This word was not learned from a Council Member but from the Codex of Ultimate Wisdom.
- The Words of Power are all Latin in origin, with definitions generally encompassing the qualities conveyed by the name of each corresponding dungeon. A notable exception is veramocor, which, in light of its initial usage as the Word of Passage to reach the Codex of Ultimate Wisdom in Ultima IV, is derived from the Latin roots for truth, love, and courage.